Our Very First Actively Managed Marijuana ETF May Be On Its Way

Cannabis Investment


On Friday, May 5th, Cambria Investment Management filed an N-1A form with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not just one, but five new ETFs. The diverse basket of proposed funds cover a wide range of industries (real estate, cannabis, robotics and AI), and also include two tax optimized funds – one domestic and one foreign.

The stand-out of the bunch – and the one that is perhaps kicking up the most attention – is the Cambria Marijuana Industry ETF. The proposed fund, if successfully launched by Cambria, will be given the ticker “TOKE.”

Cambria’s Marijuana ETF will track publicly traded companies that support or directly work in the legal production of cannabis, including: companies that legally produce marijuana, those that conduct legal research into its medical or pharmaceutical use, and those that design and manufacture equipment used in the marijuana sector.

While it may be the first cleverly-named marijuana ETF, TOKE is not the first ETF to deal in cannabis-related stocks. The proposed fund will follow on the heels of the first-ever marijuana ETF, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (TSX:HMMJ) – which launched at $10.00 per share last month and is now sitting at $9.59. While the fund trades in Canada, American investors have been able to get in on the action via its listing on the OTC.

Horizon’s ETF isn’t alone, either. In February, a filing popped up for a fund called the Emerging AgroSphere ETF. The proposed fund, which comes from New Jersey-based ETF Managers Group, will include companies exclusively in the medical marijuana space and – if approved – will list on the NYSE Arca.

Both HMMJ and the Emerging AgroSphere ETF are passively managed, meaning the indexes they are based on dictate their performance. This means that TOKE has the potential to be the first actively managed ETF in North America. At the time of writing, there is no indication yet as to when the two remaining ETFs might launch.

There is still no telling how well these (hopefully) soon-to-be-launched ETFs will perform in the market, especially considering the fact that HMMJ has declined by about four percent since it began trading. But, at the same time more and more states are legalizing medical cannabis, and – according to Arcview Market Research – sales in the marijuana sector as a whole grew 30 percent in 2016 alone. The industry is also projected to triple in size over the next four years.

How to Acquire Medical Marijuana Legally

Acquire Medical Marijuana Legally

Medical marijuana is rapidly polarizing as a treatment option among people suffering from chronic pain and disease, especially since 29 states across the US have legalized it. Despite its legalization, medical marijuana isn’t available to everyone who desires it. The use and distribution of medical marijuana is monitored closely and there is a way to acquire medical marijuana legally: a medical marijuana card.

Having this card lets you acquire medicinal marijuana completely. However, it can be quite confusing and almost impossible to get the card. This is because doctors are not so quick to prescribe this treatment to their patients. You will find this to be the case when compared to the prescriptions you receive for other pharmaceutical drugs. There are fewer considerations to make and patients only need to fulfill a few specific requirements before they start using.

Fortunately, with the correct information and guidance, you can acquire medical marijuana legally. Here are the 3 key requirements that will help you start the process:

Requirements to Acquire Medical Marijuana Legally

1.      Proof of Residence

First, you need to provide proof of residence. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is not legal, sadly for you, your journey ends here. However, stay up to date with the news and as soon as you find that medical marijuana is legal in your state, you can move on to the next step.

2.      Eligible Condition

You should be suffering from a health condition that makes you eligible for medical marijuana. The list of eligible conditions will differ from state to state so make sure you go through your local laws for more information on the subject. Serious, incapacitating, or terminal diseases, such as glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and cancer are on almost every list. Other conditions, such as anorexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, wasting syndrome, nausea, Alzheimer’s, hepatitis C, muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease and depression are also usually on the list.

But it is important to remember there are some areas that focus more on the symptoms instead of the condition. Here, a doctor will decide whether you qualify or not. If you are able to verify through an examination that you suffer from chronic pain that is a result of a condition which is not listed on the on the eligibility list, you might still have a shot at being eligible.

3.      Doctor’s Documents

The final and most crucial step to acquiring your medical cannabis card is finding a doctor to prescribe it. Keep in mind that not every doctor will be comfortable with prescribing medical marijuana. Hence, you might have to go back and forth before you finally find a doctor who will do it for you. Fortunately, there are doctors and medical cannabis clinics that specialize in working with patients who need medical marijuana.

If you manage to prepare all these documents, you can acquire medical marijuana legally.

Ridiculous Arguments Against Marijuana Legalization: Part I

Ridiculous Arguments Against Marijuana Legalization: Part I


Marijuana legalization is a hot topic these days. With our closest northern neighbor, Canada, set to remove prohibition in July, 2018, it’s quite apparent how pot attitudes have changed. In fact, a Pew Research poll reveals that 57% of Americans favor legalizing recreational Cannabis.

So why hasn’t it happened yet? That’s a complex question, but one glaring problem is the absurd arguments and logical fallacies pushed by anti-marijuana advocates. Misinformation is a powerful thing, and the only way to counter it is with cold, hard facts.

That being said, let’s see what some people are saying and point out just how dead wrong they really are.

The “Slippery Slope”

This argument has been used over a variety of issues, and it seems marijuana is no exception. In fact, America’s most unpopular governor, Chris Christie once argued, “Then why not legalize heroin…Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference?”

Let’s not. The social and health consequences of the “hard” drugs listed by Christie are devastating. Compare that to marijuana, whose biggest crime (and health impact) is creating long lines at Taco Bell.

But there’s plenty of proof. A 2007 report published in The Lancet ranks marijuana lower than any of the drugs (and many others) that Christie mentioned in terms of harm and potential for addiction.

Pot Was Banned for the Sake of Our Health

Nope. It was banned for much more sinister reasons. Remember Donald Trump’s infamous “bad hombres” remark when referring to illegal Mexican immigrants and their alleged criminal tendencies? Well, this is the exact reason why marijuana was banned in the first place.

According to an entry on the educational website, drugpolicy.org, marijuana’s prohibition came about due to a mix of scare tactics about Mexican-Americans and their allegedly dangerous behavior due to cannabis usage. It effectively became a good excuse to unfairly “search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants.”

To this day, the “War on Drugs” still has a knack for targeting minorities.

Pot Encourages Criminal Behavior

Okay, yes it does. But that’s only because purchasing it makes you a criminal. In fact, anyone who’s used cannabis – medicinally or recreationally – knows its effects very well. When you’re high, you can barely bring yourself to do the dishes, let alone beat someone up or kill the neighbor who keyed your car. But let’s see what statistics have to say.

An article in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors states that “Alcohol was more than twice as likely to be a contributing factor to violent crimes than nonviolent crimes…” and 62% of those convicted of violent crimes did so under the influence of alcohol. And this stuff is legal.

Okay, so alcohol is a huge factor in violent crime. But what about pot? Well, according to the conclusions drawn by the National Academy of Sciences, “…cannabis preparations (e.g., marihuana, hashish) or THC decrease aggressive and violent behavior.”

So the next time you’re tempted to take the gloves off because of your co-worker’s snarky remarks about your haircut, try smoking joint. Better yet, both of you should.

Final Thoughts

Nobody’s saying that marijuana is 100% harmless. There are plenty of studies indicating that it can have adverse effects, especially on young, developing brains. But after decades of failed attempts to curb its black market consumption, we need to stop relying on laws to eliminate certain behaviors. Instead, the onus should be on parents to educate their kids about responsible cannabis use, just like they (hopefully) do with alcohol and cigarettes.

Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Veterans Dealing with PTSD

Veterans Dealing with PTSD

Waking up with a cold sweat, ringing ears, horrifying flashbacks, and night terrors. This is what life is like for numerous veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is common among veterans in the US. Studies confirm that over 20% of the soldiers who witnessed the war in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Another study estimates that 200,000 plus veterans from the Vietnam War had to deal with the same disorder. It is important to uncover treatment options for veterans dealing with PTSD.

The Drawbacks of Conventional Treatments for Veterans Dealing with PTSD

Doctors typically deploy a combination of clinical therapy and medicines to combat the symptoms of PTSD. Most of the time, these options are not effective. Anti-depressants work but also come with well-known side effects and risks. Even though they are effective at dulling the pain of PTSD, they can bring along a series of issues that will require additional medical attention. Since veterans are in a never-ending search for something that works , many of them are now turning to medical cannabis. This natural plant is as effective in relieving pain as pills, but without the adverse effects.

According to a recent decision by the Drug Enforcement Administration, clinical trials are in progress that will help prove the effectiveness of medical cannabis as a treatment for veterans dealing with PTSD. At present, only six states in the US allow citizens dealing with this disorder to get a medical cannabis card, which means there is still room to grow.

How Medical Cannabis Benefits Veterans Dealing with PTSD

However, veterans who do have access to medical cannabis are actually benefiting from the drug in the following ways:

Medical cannabis is fast acting and versatile. Patients who rely on the drug have great flexibility in both the kind of medicine they use and the way they consume it. There are hundreds of strains of cannabis, where each possesses its own special medical benefit. Users also have complete control of their dose. They can choose to ingest, apply or smoke as little or much as they want. In addition, antidepressants take a long time to work and call for a long tapering time in case the user decides to switch medications or stop using them. On the other hand, medical marijuana has no such repercussions.

There is a low risk of addiction and withdrawal symptoms with cannabis. With traditional PTSD medication, there is a serious risk of addiction that can bring unbearable withdrawal symptoms once the user stops using them. With medical cannabis, however, veterans dealing with PTSD are at a far less risk of withdrawal and physical addiction, resulting in an enjoyable and safer experience. In fact, some doctors are prescribing medical cannabis to their patients for overcoming addiction with a 75% success rate.

How Medical Cannabis Can Benefit Children with Autism

Medical Cannabis

Approximately 2 million people in the US suffer from autism, which is a collection of disorders that affect brain development. It leads to  social interaction issues, communication difficulties, learning problems, high sensory sensitivity, inability to keep a conversation flowing, repetitive and even injurious behaviors. It is believed that medical cannabis can help children with autism.

Autism is not a specific disease, like muscular dystrophy or Crohn’s. Rather, it is a group of conditions you can refer to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The causes of ASD are unknown, but as per the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the environment and genetics are both key contributors to the disorder. Autistic people generally have abnormal neurotransmitter levels and brain irregularities, which suggest the disorder is the result of a disruption in normal development of the brain due to the presence of defective genes that control the communication of brain cells.

Medical Marijuana and Its Effects on Autism

Research suggests there is a potential connection between cannabinoid receptors and autism. This is evident in cannabinoid 2 receptors (CB2), inside the endocannabinoid system 2, 5, 7, 9. There is sufficient evidence that shows CB2 receptors support the theory that the brain’s inability to send clear cues causes autism. This in turn increases the possibility that using cannabinoids in marijuana can reinstate communication to facilitate proper cell operation and communication. Studies also support cannabinoids efficiency in treating autism, especially in children.

One study concludes an autistic child show significant improvement in lethargy, hyperactivity, stereotypy, irritability and inapt speech after receiving THC for about six months. Furthermore, mice showing behavior similar to humans’ autistic behavior enjoyed decline in depression and succeeded in staying focused on running on the spinning wheel after they were given cannabinoids. A study showed boosting cannabinoids, such as the ones present in cannabis, in the brain helps correct behavioral problems that stem from Fragile X Syndrome, the most widespread genetic cause of autism.

How Medical Cannabis Can Benefit Children with Autism

Increasingly, parents who have children experiencing severe autism have few options for treating ASD symptoms. Keeping this in mind, many are now turning to medical cannabis. People are aware of the anecdotal success reports, as there are promising results present. Although clinical research remains absent, several studies indicate that medical cannabis can:

  • Help in autism management thanks to the presence of certain components, like the CB2 receptor. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23585028
  • Improve various autism symptoms, such as aggression, panic, anxiety, tantrums, generalized rage, self-harm, and property destruction. This is as per findings of the Autism Research Institute.
  • Help with behavioral issues due to the presence of certain chemicals.

Since scientists rely on evidence, few researchers or doctors are willing to prescribe marijuana. They don’t prescribe it for children, as they don’t feel comfortable. However, the therapeutic qualities of cannabis are undeniable, considering the plethora of anecdotal studies available today.